Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Big-Band Music Has Big Purpose at Benefit Outdoor Concert to Aid Educational Group

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Big-Band Music Has Big Purpose at Benefit Outdoor Concert to Aid Educational Group

Article excerpt

When a 15-piece band plays "In The Mood" on Sunday, Glen Miller's toe-tapping song is likely to put people in the mood to dance. And that's OK, because although the event is billed as a Fall Lawn Concert, those attending will be invited to get out of their lawn chairs and dance.

The concert at 3:30 p.m. at a farm in Peters is to benefit P.E.O, a philanthropic educational organization - hence the initials - that provides educational scholarships, grants, awards and low-interest loans to women. "Women helping women reach for the stars" is the P.E.O. motto, and members have been doing this - rather quietly - since 1869, when educational opportunities for women were rare.

P.E.O. member Debby Underwood is hosting the outdoor concert at the home on 25 acres that she shares with her husband, Jeff. The Underwoods in the past have set up an 18-hole "Farm Golf" course to raise money for P.E.O. and for cystic fibrosis.

A $25 ticket will cover the concert and light appetizers. Everyone should bring a lawn chair.

The Pitt Alumni Dance Band, which specializes in big-band music, is led by retired musician Jack Anderson of Collier. Mr. Anderson was director of the University of Pittsburgh Marching Band for 18 years and assistant director for nine. He also directed the university's concert band.

The alumni band has 15 members, or "16 if we have a piano," Mr. Anderson said. On Sunday, the band will have five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and a bass. Mr. Anderson will play the drums. The one-hour concert is likely to include Glenn Miller classics such as "In the Mood" and "Tuxedo Junction" in addition to other big-band sounds.

The alumni dance band was started in 1963. It plays at weddings and other events, with the fees going toward scholarships for Pitt music students. The admission fee for Sunday's concert will benefit P.E.O. and Pitt.

One of the beneficiaries of P.E.O. is Dee-Jai Lasko of Castle Shannon, who received $12,000 from the organization toward her two-year master's degree in speech pathology at Duquesne University. She is grateful for the help. …

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